Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Tea Partiers want government spending cut
Between 200 and 300 hundred Tea Party supporters rallied in the shaded area of the Roundhouse Tuesday morning just hours before the start of the 2011 legislative session.
Former State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, who only hours before turned her seat over to freshman Rep. Conrad James, R-Albuquerque, greeted the rambunctious crowd and introduced former Gov. Gary Johnson, the rally's keynote speaker.
Arnold-Jones got cheers and applause when she mentioned Johnson's 750 vetoes and her distrust of former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration.
Braving the wind and cold, Johnson told the crowd both political parties are responsible for the state's current economic mess. He said "this level of spending cannot be sustained."
He also said it was time to consider eliminating the State Treasurer's office, claiming a few people could do the job.
In the rotunda, current Treasurer James Lewis responded to the suggestion, "Gary is Gary."
Johnson also weighed in on the House Speaker's race, telling SF New Mexican Reporter Steve Terrell he thinks it would be "a good change" if Rep. Joseph Cervantes was elected to the leadership post.
But, Heath Haussamen, New Mexico Politics.net's publisher, is reporting that pressure from many of Tea Party supporters, like Tina Carson, who attended the outdoor rally, want Republicans to unite behind a conservative candidate rather than vote for "the lesser of two evils." Haussamen writes a division in the GOP could hurt Cervantes' chances to oust Rep. Lujan, who has had the job since 2001.
Several noteable Republican VIP's were spotted in the rally crowd including, Tom Mullins who was last year's GOP candidate for congress in Congressional District 3, and Adam Kokesh, who lost to Mullins in the primary election. Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, who launched his congressional exploratory committee two weeks ago, and may run against Rep. Martin Heinrich, also braved the chilly weather to attend the rally.
Standing Room only
Every seat in the public gallery of the House chamber is reserved (with yellow stickies) and members of the public who didn't have an invitation and chair, are upset. In fact, they're being forced into a standing room area behind a waist high wall.
One woman from Santa Fe said she noticed them roping off the gallery yesterday and is disappointed that no seat were reserved for the public.
While you might not have a seat in the gallery you can view today's roll call vote and Gov. Susana Martinez' first State of the State online. Several media outlets will be streaming it.
House GOP Caucus communications director Larry Behrens tells us he's not sure why all the gallery seats were reserved. So far, the Santa Fe fire marshal is allowing people to crowd the space behind the wall, but there does not appear to be much room left.